Question: I’m writing a standard operating procedure (SOP) for my 500 gallon aboveground storage tank (AST) of gasoline. How much absorbent do I need if the tank lets loose?
Answer: You should be prepared to handle a worst case scenario spill, based on regulations your facility might be subject to. Unfortunately, there isn’t one-size-fits all answer to spill response, but absorbents are certainly one way to clean up and contain spills. Here’s a sample of what you might put together to absorb 500 gallons of gasoline:
Absorbents are a great choice for smaller spills. But when you’re planning for a potential several hundred gallon spill, it’s important to consider where these products will live and how easily accessible they will be.
Consider using absorbents to contain a spill and then pumping or vacuuming the excess liquid. You can also place permanent secondary containment berms around the AST to confine the spill.
Don’t forget that you’ll have to train your employees or a designated spill response team how to use the absorbents and containment products. You should also locate any stormwater drains located around the AST and ensure you have backup product, like drain covers or drain inserts, to stop the gasoline from leaking into waterways.
Before writing anything into your SOP or purchasing absorbents or containment products, consider the regulations your facility might be subject to.
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act regulations apply since gasoline is a hazardous material. Stormwater regulations apply if the AST is outside or near a drain that leads to navigable waters. Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure regulations may if the storage capacity of this tank and other bulk storage containers or oil filled equipment totals 1,320 gallons or more.
When you use a combination of tools and resources instead of relying entirely on one response method, your SOP will be more successful.